June 29, 2012

Throw Like a Girl, Fight like a Girl

June 28, 2012

More Susan Blackwell

June 27, 2012

Spice Up Your Life

Stop right now!  Tell me what you want, what you really really want: a new musical featuring songs of the Spice Girls. Viva Forever will debut at the Piccadilly Theatre on 27 November. It will officially open on 11 December. Say you'll be there.
Click here for the full Playbill article.

Viva Forever...I'll be waiting.

Back Behind the Lens

News agencies have reported that actor/director Barbra Streisand will be back behind the lens to direct Skinny and Cat. Her last directorial jaunt was 16 years ago in The Mirror Has Two Faces. The said film follows the real-life romance of writer Erskine Caldwell and photojournalist Margaret Bourke White. But what is more exciting (well for me at least) is that Colin Firth and Cate Blanchett have been cast in the project! To read more about it please click here.

Love and Loss

Rest in Peace, Nora Ephron. Thank you for the laughter and the wisdom.
June 26, 2012

Side by Side at Broadway Bares XXII

Broadway Actor In TV Commercial: Cristin Milioti

Tony nominee and "Girl" from the musical Once, Cristin Milioti is featured in this Ford Edge commercial.
June 25, 2012

Monsters University

Trailer of the upcoming Monsters, Inc. sequel.

June 24, 2012

Jesus Christ Superstar at the 2012 Tonys

The show is scheduled to close July 1st.
June 23, 2012

Susan Blackwell Side by Side with Tony Winners

June 22, 2012

Great Performance at Lincoln Center

Sydney Theatre Company artistic directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton will bring their acclaimed production of Uncle Vanya to the Lincoln Center Festival next month.  Nigel Redden from Gotham Magazine had an in depth interview with the pair about the complexities and thrills of bringing the play to NYC. 

Here's an excerpt:

NIGEL REDDEN: We are thrilled that you are bringing this production of Uncle Vanya to the Lincoln Center Festival. Can you tell me what it means to you and the company to stage the play in New York?
CATE BLANCHETT: It’s an absolute privilege, and it’s wonderful to be juxtaposed against all the other extraordinary things that you program for the Lincoln Center Festival. Often when theater is talked about in New York, it is talked about as if it were a sort of homogeneous blob. There are so many different types of audiences in New York, and we are very excited to be there in a festival context because it generates a way of looking for an audience that’s very different than if we were doing a four-month run. There is a special, “see it now or you miss it” feeling that we are all very excited by.

To read the full article, please click here.

(photo above from Gotham Magazine)

Recording the new Evita Broadway Cast Album

The cast album will be released on 26 June 2012.
June 21, 2012

Actors Against Acting Athletes

How awesome is Gary Oldman!

Once at the 2012 Tonys

Your Sister's Sister

I got tickets to the advanced screening of Your Sister's Sister that included a Q and A afterwards with the movie's director Lynn Shelton.  She is known for her improvisational approach to movie making.  I've been wanting to see this film since I saw the trailer.

Your Sister's Sister centers on 3 people:  Jack (Mark Duplass) who is in a bad place in his life having no direction and had caused a scene at the anniversary of his brother's death.  Iris (Emily Blunt), his best friend, suggests for him to take a break to clear his mind and stay at her father's cabin in the San Juan Islands in Wa.  Jack arrives at the cabin and finds Iris' sister, Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt) there.  She had just ended a long time relationship.  What happens is a cascade of events putting the three characters in wonderfully awkward situations.

It's such a well made film with exceptional "dialogue" considering it's 80 % improv from the actors according to the film's director.  She had an outline with how scenes would flow as well as some dialogue but had asked the actors not to memorize them.   Instead, she had encouraged them to use their own words as well as their own annecdotes in some scenes.  In fact, she had actually granted writing credits to the actors at the end of the film for their contribution.  What resulted is such a natural movie that it feels like you were there in the cabin with them.  The plot twist was unexpected and the slow resolution wasn't forced but built gradually.  It is so satisfying that when you get to the end of the movie, it was just right and made you smile.

Emily Blunt, Rosemarie Dewitt and Mark Duplass couldn't even be more perfect in their roles.  With great chemistry among the three of them, the sister relationship as well as best friend relationship seemed so organic.  It's also a testament to these actors ability to have intimately understood their individual characters for them to be able to improv not just their dialogues but also their reactions to revelations in the story.  It's such a wonderful thing to watch.  Very gratifying.  I can't wait to own the dvd!

Director Lynn Shelton answering questions after the movie
June 20, 2012

Honoring Ms. Peters

Bernadette Peters accepting the Isabelle Stevenson Awards at this year's Tony Awards.

Broadway Barks this year is on 14 July from 330-630 PM at Shubert Alley.

Evita at the 2012 Tonys

Peter and the Starcatcher

In this day and age where we have multi-million dollar musicals with special effects and elaborate set designs, it's refreshing to see a stripped down version of theatre where imagination is celebrated.  This is the experience when you see Peter and the Starcatcher.  Well, granting it's actually a play with music not a musical but nonetheless......

Peter and the Starcatcher is based on a book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  It is a prequel to the story of Peter Pan which was adapted on stage by Rick Elice.  A delightful play filled with lots of silliness and throw backs to present day pop culture, you'll find yourself giggling through out the show.  There is such playfulness with the staging of the play by Alex Timbers and Roger Rees that makes use of simple props such as a rope to pull your imagination and participate in the journey.  It was such a joy to get to experience that inventiveness of stipped down, pure theatre magic!

Adam Chanler-Berat plays Peter, the boy who never grew up, while Celia Keenan-Bolger is Molly the starcatcher.  The team of Christian Borle and Kevin Del Aguila as Blach Stache and Smee respectively.  They are a hoot!  Christian Borle chews up the scenery practically making his co-actors restrain themselves from giggling on stage.  You could see their shoulders shaking during his last monologue.  It's no wonder he just won the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Play. 

It's difficult to specifically say what makes this a good play and the byline on the theatre doors actually says it all, "You must experience it for yourself"!

Other photos that I took that afternoon:

*  Oh, celebrity sighting at the show:  2 rows in front of us was Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire or more famously the "Tim Gunn" of Project Runway All Stars

June 19, 2012

Tom Hiddleston Impressions

Leap of Faith at the 2012 Tonys

June 18, 2012

Glen Hansard on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Porgy and Bess at the 2012 Tonys

June 17, 2012

Falling Slowly

I don't recall a time when I came out of the theatre after seeing a show wanting to see it again and yet this has been my experience having seen Once on Broadway on June 3, 2012.  Having loved the 2006 movie from which it is based, it's such a pleasure to see it uniquely staged at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre.

With music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Once is the story of a Guy and Girl, one Irishman while the other one a Czech, finding each other through music.  It is a love story with the actors playing a dual role as musicians and brilliantly directed by John Tiffany.  Designer Bob Crawley set this intimate musical in a pub setting surrounded by numerous antique mirrors giving the audience a 360 degree view of the stage.  I relished that feature particularly when Cristin Milioti (Girl) plays her piano and you get to see her fingers tinker on the keyboard.  The musical is full of longing and that pervading emotion is enhanced with movement choreography by Steven Hoggett.  Every flick of the wrist, bend of the neck or turn of the head in tune to the haunting music suggests yearning that permeates from the stage and flows into the audience.  It is enthralling and reminds me of another play about longing called Brief Encounter.

Steve Kazee is heartbreaking as the disheartened Guy while Cristin Milioti is a feisty and earnest (well, sometimes too earnest) Girl.  Both possess incredibly beautiful voices.  Mr. Kazee has a great command of the Irish accent and sings with raw passion.  I was particularly surprised with Ms. Milioti's voice.  I guess because you don't hear her singing a lot of solos where she pours out her emotions in a song.  Not only does she have a smooth velvety voice but there is also an ache to her singing that I didn't expect that would come out from her petite body.  The ensemble is equally as talented playing their roles while playing their instruments without sheet music.  Also, the use of Irish music for the intermission and in the transition scenes kept you engaged. 

Once just won 8 Tony Awards on June 10th and understandably so, with it's beautiful music, creative staging, enchanting movement and passion filled acting.  Make sure you don't miss it!

Here are some photos I took that afternoon:

David Patrick Kelly as Da

Steve Kazee as Guy

David Abeles as Eamon

Elizabeth A. Davis as Reza

Anne L. Nathan as Baruska

Erikka Walsh as the Ex-girlfriend

Lucas Papaelias as Svec

The Evolution of Dad Dancing

Happy Fathers' Day to all the Dads out there!

At the Tony Awards Press Room

Venus in Fur closes today.
June 16, 2012

Nice Work if you Can Get It at the 2012 Tonys

At the Tony Awards Press Room

June 15, 2012

In Memoriam Tony Awards 2012

In Memoriam segment that was not aired during the 2012 Tony Awards broadcast.  RIP.

At the Tony Awards Press Room

Newsies at the 2012 Tonys

June 14, 2012

The Cumberbatch

Call Me Maybe

And we take a break from our post-Tony "coverage" again...

At the Tony Awards Press Room

June 13, 2012

The Stuff Stars are Made Of

Peter and the Starcatcher is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  Like Wicked, it's the fanciful origin story of a popular character.  There's a bit of The 39 Steps thrown in, with 12 actors playing various roles, except for the Boy-Later-Known-as Peter Pan (Adam Chanler-Berat) and Molly Aster (Celia Keenan-Bolger).  The staging is whimsical, the clever dialogue interspersed with songs and dancing.  Can you name a show that managed to sneak in an Ayn Rand reference?

Molly's father has been tasked by Queen Victoria (God save her) with bringing a treasure chest to a remote island.  And where there's treasure, there's marauders.  High jinks on the high seas ensue. It is up to the feisty girl and the orphan boys in the HMS Neverland to save the day. 

The intrepid Molly is played by a winsome Ms. Keenan-Bolger.  Mr. Chanler-Berat goes from a sad, distrustful boy to an unlikely and brave hero.  The cruel pirate Black Stache is played by an over-the-top Christian Borle, who managed to crack up himself and his fellow cast members as he probably ad-libbed and hilariously hammed it up.  Other stand outs include Teddy Bergman as Fighting Prawn, Arnie Burton as Molly's nanny Mrs. Bumbrake, and Kevin del Aguila as Smee.
While the first act could have used some trimming, everything does imaginatively fall into place by the second act.  We meet Mr. Smee, the crocodile, island natives, find out how the mermaids and Tinker Bell came to be, and why the Boy didn't want to grow up. I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this show so I won't go into too much detail.  I will stick to strongly urging you to go see this delightful show.  It will make your spirit soar.

At the Tony Awards Press Room

June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, David

We interrupt our post-Tony Awards week with a message from Weyland Industries' David (AKA the great Michael Fassbender).

2012 Tony Awards Opening Numbers

June 11, 2012

Best Actors, Best Men

Two of the most moving and heartfelt acceptance speeches I've ever heard.

Guitar Hero with Steve Kazee, Episode 1

2012 Best Musical Once backstage tour with Tony winner Steve Kazee after they started previews this year.

June 10, 2012

Once There was a Little Show that Could

Photos from Once the Musical's journey from off-Broadway to the 2012 Best Musical.  Congratulations to Steve Kazee and all the winners from the show!

Tony Awards Sneak Peek

One Play, Many Laughs

One Man, Two Guvnors is Richard Bean's adaptation of  The Servant of Two Masters.  He has moved the action from Venice to Brighton, which can only mean one thing:  brilliant British buffoonery! Directed by Nicholas Hytner, it stars Tony nominated James Corden (from The History Boys) as Francis Henshall (the one man). He is employed by the cross-dressing Rachel Crabbe played by Jemima Rooper (don't ask!).  And the haughty Stanley Stubbers (Oliver Chris).  The plot is ridiculously convoluted, but all you  need to know is that Francis is always famished and doesn't want his guvnors to ever find out that he is serving two masters.  The raucous dinner scene that closes the first act is farce at its finest, and I have never laughed so hard since The Book of Mormon.
Visual gags, slapstick, pratfalls, music, witty dialogue with some improv and audience participation thrown in,  What's not to like in this inventive show?  The cast is outstanding, most of whom came from the National Theatre's original production.  The jovial James Corden is winning and has a penchant for physical comedy. (Kudos to their physical comedy director, Cal McCrystal.) Tom Edden as 80 year old waiter Alfie chomped the scenery, also earning a Tony nod.  Daniel Rigby is perfect as  Alan Dangle, a wannabe actor with all sorts of theatrical affectations .  Oliver Chris played an arrogant snob.  It's worth mentioning that the charming Mr. Corden's ad libbing even cracked up his fellow actors.
As if the laughs aren't enough in this original play, it also features The Craze, a skiffle band composed of Jason Rabinowitz, Austin Moorehead, Charlie Rosen, and Jacob Colin Cohen.  The band made for some of the most inspired scene changes I have ever seen. I had a rollicking good time watching this insanely funny, silly, and feel-good show.

June 9, 2012

Venus in Fur

Venus in Fur stars Nina Arianda as Wanda (pronounced Vanda), an actress who boldly pushes her way to audition for a play written by Thomas (Hugh Dancy).  She is tardy, but fully prepared, complete with costumes and an intimate knowledge of the script.  The playwright is directing a production based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novel about Severin Kushemski.  The novel's protagonist is a nobleman whose feelings for Vanda Duneyev, a woman he meets at a spa, lean towards S & M.
Ms. Arianda is a powerhouse on stage, earning a well deserved Tony nomination. A great physical comedienne, she is also by turns, seductive, innocent, brazen. Her performance is riveting.  A play within a play, Wanda abruptly but effortlessly goes in and out of character to question the writer.  Is Thomas revealing his own sexual proclivities through his work? It's a love story, he insists.  As the audition continues, the actress-writer/director dynamics shift.  She starts to dominate the proceedings, the transitions between Wanda/Vanda and Thomas/Kushemski increasingly revelatory for the playwright.
The show doesn't fully resolve the questions of who Vanda is. Is her name really Wanda-pronounced-as- Vanda?  How she does she know so much about Thomas, as well as Vanda the character?  This was probably where it left me hanging.  But otherwise, it's a unique but bewildering study of male-female power struggles and sexual politics.
The show closes 17 June 2012.

Michael Fassbender on The Daily Show

June 8, 2012

NPH on The Colbert Report

How To Host A Tony Awards Party

With the Tony Awards coming up this Sunday, here's some tips on how to host a Tony party.  Enjoy!
June 7, 2012

The Man Behind Geoff the Robot

Highlight reel from the brilliant Josh Robert Thompson, AKA Geoff Peterson from The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  If you haven't seen him exchange rapid fire, witty, tear-inducing banter with my favorite Scotsman on TV, you're missing out.  Craig told the New York Times:
"I wanted to deconstruct the idea of the sidekick by having a robot sidekick who became a great sidekick [laughs] and the guy who does it is so good. So it’s a huge failure – it completely endorses the idea of the sidekick."

June 6, 2012

Rest in Peace, Ray

“And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands? He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

(photo from BBC News)

Joey Salutes The Queen

As part of the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne, the National Theatre, home of War Horse, sends her this salute.  From the looks of it, she was absolutely delighted!  Just look at the huge grin!  God Save The Queen!
June 5, 2012

One Show, Fab Four

The Craze (Charlie Rosen, Austin Moorhead, Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Colin Cohen) from the hilarious One Man, Two Guvnors talk about "skiffle" music.

The London cast album is available on Amazon.
June 4, 2012

Catch up with the Stars

Pinky, Mike, and I saw the delightful Peter and the Starcatcher this past Saturday.  Watch out for our review.  In the meantime, here's a special thank you from the cast.

June 3, 2012

Lazy Sunday vs. Lazy Monday

 Lazy Sunday 2 on SNL's season finale.

Sister Act response.
June 2, 2012


A movie with a very interesting and unusual premise, Hysteria turns out to be an enjoyable time at the movies. Set in Victorian London, Hysteria is really the story behind how the vibrator was created. A young doctor trying to establish himself, Mortimer Grandville (Hugh Dancy) is employed by Dr. Robert Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce). His thriving practice focuses on the treatment of “female hysteria” by pelvic massage. Yes this is the amusing part of the film. In the course of the story, Granville develops a hand cramp from his practice and stumbles upon a curious device that would make his job easier. But this premise only provides the backdrop of the film. As juxtaposition to that premise, Grandville also meets the Dalrymple sisters. Emily (Felicity Jones) who is the quintessential Victorian lady content with following her father’s plans for her. Grandville is immediately smitten. The other sister, Charlotte Dalrymple (Maggie Gyllenhaal), is a bit more feisty and an independent woman who’s ahead of her time. Charlotte chose to work in a shelter as a teacher and to provide food for the less privileged. At its heart, the film is a love story between these characters.

I have always loved a good British period film but what is most enjoyable about this is the writing. The dialogue is deliciously funny and smart particularly the banter between Grandville and Charlotte. Scriptwriters Stephen Dyer and Jonah Lisa Dyer are also adept in situational comedy (especially during the medical consultation scenes) that create a hilarious setting for the characters so much so that at my viewing, the audience would ignite with chuckles throughout the movie.

As for the cast, Hugh Dancy is always charming and has great chemistry with Maggie Gyllenhaal. Ms. Gyllenhaal is utterly convincing as the feisty and passionate Charlotte. She also has a flawless British accent complete with inflections! And it seemed so natural for her. I’ve had previous experience seeing a film with an American cast as a British character in the movie Becoming Jane where the lead would weave in and out of the British accent and it was distracting. Not the case with Ms. Gyllenhaal and I am very impressed!

Hysteria is in limited release at art cinemas right now so if there’s one around you, go and check it out!
June 1, 2012

Sutton Meets Craig

Sutton Foster on The Late Late show with Craig Ferguson.

Bunheads premieres 11 June on ABC Family at 9 PM.
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